Symptoms, Signs and Prevention of Malaria

Malaria-Mosquito-Symptoms and treatment

This Article was featured in our #Malaria edition of HALA Magazine. FREE Download here

MALARIA  does not have its own peculiar symptoms but the most common associated features are fever with or without chills and rigors (shivering), headaches, bitter taste in mouth, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint aches and a general feeling of unwell.

Fever is a non-specific symptom because it could also be similarly present in other health conditions caused by infectious agents such as bacteria or virus; non-communicable diseases at its onset, wounds/burns etc. Ignorance of this basic fact has resulted in the over-diagnosis and subsequent over-treatment of malaria. A mere assumption of malaria based on previous experience that is similar to a new presentation could be very wrong if a confirmatory parasite-based test diagnosis is not done. The requirement for parasite-based confirmation of suspected malaria cases now forms the best practice in malaria case management in the country.

However, children under 5 years presenting with fever or history of fever in the past 24 hours amongst other symptoms, should be treated for malaria in addition to other treatment where diagnostic facilities cannot be accessed. 

Really, WHAT IS FEVER?

Fever is a non-specific symptom… ignorance of this basic fact has resulted in the over-diagnosis and subsequent over-treatment of malaria.

Over-diagnosis of Malaria in Nigeria

 

How to Prevent Malaria Infections

The general intervention for prevention and control strategies against malaria includes the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets, Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) and prompt treatment when malaria is confirmed. Malaria is not a simple disease yet it could become dangerous if not were managed and it is better off prevented.

Although malaria is preventable, easily treated and curable, it particularly assumes a deadly dimension when it occurs in pregnancy. Unfortunately, the typical tendencies among the general populace are for people to misinterpret the complications of malaria (especially when their deleterious consequences occur within the most vulnerable group of people) like Spontaneous Abortion in a pregnant woman, or Febrile Convulsions in a child. It is common place in our environment for people to attribute such things to be “mysterious spiritual matters” without acknowledging either the malaria link or even their individual indirect contribution to the situation.

Malaria in Pregnancy

 

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